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Visitors to wine regions are indeed seeking winery-based experiences, hence the increase of the number of wineries in Australia offering food facilities, and in some instances, accommodation.  A significant number also host events, ranging from small winery based programs to large scale concerts and festivals.  

People perceive wineries and wine regions as great places to relax, unwind and have fun.  An integrated wine tourism facility is likely to feature a variety of options that appeal to a broad range of visitors.  A facility of this nature is often regarded as a ‘destination in its own right’ and will quite likely have a recognised brand that has the ability to attract visitors to the region in the first place.  For some operators, the creation of a major tourism facility is the impetus that builds the wine brand from the outset.

However, the decision to offer any or all of these options requires some major forward planning and analysis.  For example, while it is well known that food and wine are natural partners, running a restaurant or café is a vastly different proposition to making and selling wine.  Hosting an event on your property sounds great until you find people running through your vineyards.  And do you really want people staying on your property overnight?

Take a moment to consider some practicalities:

  • What level of capital investment is required?
  • How will the proposed activity enhance or detract from your core business?
  • What is the real purpose for investing in this option?
  • Do you have the necessary expertise to manage the proposed operation?
  • Does your region offer enough options already?
  • Will you simply be taking market share from another operator or increasing demand?
  • What other businesses or organisations can you partner with to achieve the same outcome?
  • Do you have sufficient resources to staff an expanded operation?
  • Is there a ready pool of skilled workers in the region to draw from?
  • How will the decision affect your personal lifestyle?

Weigh up the pluses and minuses of incorporating simple food, or a fully-fledged dining facility into your wine experience; discover how you can generate revenue from events, festivals and functions; and State Tourism Organisations can assist you with researching the requirements and challenges of providing accommodation on your property.

And finally, consider what business you really want to be in.  If retaining a focus on the core business of making and selling wine is your primary objective, you will need to be very clear about the impact of a decision to introduce other significant products and facilities.

If you want to learn from the experiences of three of Australia’s best-known cellar door food provision operators, see our Stories from Front of House (PDF)


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